Parents, Students, and Staff:
We are blessed to be able to celebrate the holidays with our families, while many families in Newtown CT, are still grieving from their loss. The horrible events at Sandy Hook Elementary School have affected every public school in America, including Cuyahoga Heights Schools. While we are shaken by these events, we have not implemented any temporary safety measures but rather we have held firm to our commitment to school safety and maintaining our current safety plan. The administration had re-evaluated the current safety plan and protocols in October and November and submitted our updated plan to the Ohio Attorney General, which has approved our compliance. (Click to see the compliance letter). Our current safety plan was developed from best practices in conjunction with the Cuyahoga Heights safety forces and a security consultant. Our specialized security plan is being hailed as one of the models being considered for implementation in the Cleveland Metropolitan Schools.
Immediately following the Sandy Hook incident, the administration met with the staff to review the safety protocols to ensure our plan is being implemented appropriately. Our security cameras cover both inside and outside the schools and are monitored by the building offices and administrators. The police and fire departments have access to the building floor plans and have conducted practice sessions in our buildings during breaks.
In January, the district administration will again meet with the Cuyahoga Heights’ safety forces to review our plan in light of the events at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Whenever an event occurs, such as the one at Sandy Hook Elementary School, safety professionals across the country re-assess conventional plans and protocols to determine if current practice should be revised when considering what was learned by the incident. Along with this line of reasoning, Cuyahoga Heights Schools will be providing additional training, such as A.L.I.C.E (Alert-Lockdown-Inform-Counter-Evacuate) training, to the staff this year. Additionally, the district has contracted with a new Helpline by Security Voice, Inc. to provide a safety tip line for anyone to report concerns or suspicious issues, or bullying. The Helpline will also provide 24/7 live crisis counseling. The Helpline will provide our students and parents the opportunity to report concerns anonymously which will be reported immediately by Security Voice to our administrators to address. More information can be found on the district website on the Home page, bottom left, and on the Student Resources’ page. The Helpline number is 1-800-418-6423 extension 359.
The administration has taken the events of Sandy Hook seriously and will continue to learn from these events and make any necessary adjustments to our safety plans. We will always work to maintain a safe and secure campus as we continue to keep student safety a priority.
We look forward to the staff and students returning to classes on January 7th.
We wish everyone a safe and Happy New Year!
Dr. Edwin S. Holland